Results tagged “Carl Trueman” from Reformation21 Blog

Reformation Worship Conference

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Worship and the House of Prayer

Join us in Powder Springs, GA from October 20th to the 23rd for the 2016 Reformation Worship Conference. The speakers will include Carl Trueman, editor of Mortification of Spin; Jason Helopoulos, contributor for The Christward Collective; W. Robert Godfrey; T. David Gordon; Terry Johnson; Mark Ross; Neil Stewart; and David Strain. The conference will be hosted by Midway Presbyterian Church and Pastor David Hall, contributor for Place for Truth.

The Reformation Worship Conference exists to encourage the church to remember her Reformation heritage, particularly as it concerns biblical, God-centered worship. The annual conference will seek to draw gifted scholars and pastors who are able to lead pastors, elders, seminarians, music directors/musicians, and congregants to a fuller understanding of the theology and practice of reformed worship. This three day conference will include multiple lectures and seminars during the day and worship services in the evenings, providing a faithful expression during the day and model of Reformed worship for all who attend. Our prayer is that this annual conference will serve as a catalyst to bring our churches back to their reformed roots in worship, where reformed theology informs Lord's Day worship, and is not divorced from it. 

For more information and to register, visit our website. And, we are offering the Reformation Worship Conference Anthology for only $20. This anthology includes 62 MP3 messages on DVD media from the 2014 and 2015 Reformation Worship Conferences. To order, visit

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Aimee Byrd, Todd Pruitt, and Carl Trueman, hosts of the Alliance's Mortification of Spin podcast, recently sat down with's Jonathan Master, Dean of Cairn University's School of Divinity, to talk about the podcast. The conversation covered a wide range of topics as the hosts took some time to reflect on their experience with the podcast so far, some of the impetus behind its creation, how it fits in with their broader ministries, and a few of their favorite episodes. 

Our thanks to Cairn University for hosting Mortification of Spin and producing this video.

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MoS at Cairn.png

Trueman on Luther

Luther Christian Life (Trueman).jpgNo, not Carl's triumphant return to provide a window into the mind of "Luther" Levy, but rather the celebrity anti-celebrity's latest offering, considering Luther on the Christian Life (Crossway, arriving later this month). We are promised many good things between the covers of this volume, which can be ordered or pre-purchased in the usual disreputable places ( / / Westminster).

In any case, this looks like it might prove one of the definitive introductions to the character and convictions of a man that so many claim and so few of us understand. I am just disappointed that the marketing department have missed the obvious Valentine's publicity shot of young Martin and his beloved. Whether or not we can get this fellow to don the cowl once more and re-enact some of the better-known episodes of the Reformer's life remains to be seen.

Levy, Paul (monk).jpg

The catholic Luther: two resources

I thought I might interrupt Ref21's ongoing series on John Wesley's view of Christ's descent into hell by mentioning a couple of resources related to another uncontroversial theologian: Martin Luther. These two books have very different foci--one concerns Luther's understanding of the Christian life, the other concerns Luther's understanding of divine impassibility. Moreover, these two books are written for very different audiences--one is aimed at pastors and thoughtful laypersons, the other is aimed at academic theologians and historians. I mention them in the same context because, in spite of their differences, both books achieve a similar result. By painting a more accurate historical portrait of the Wittenberg Reformer than that which commonly dominates the evangelical imagination, both books present a more "catholic" Luther who has much to teach contemporary evangelical pastors and theologians. 

Carl Trueman's Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom is the most recent volume in Crossway's Theologians on the Christian Life series. The book is admirable at many levels. Trueman provides an interesting, often humorous, and always informed introduction not only to Luther's views about the Christian life but also to Luther's own Christian life and makes a compelling case along the way that we must appreciate the latter if we are to understand the former. Though Trueman is careful not to turn the sixteenth century Bible professor into a twenty first century evangelical, he is nevertheless particularly adept at demonstrating Luther's relevance for contemporary evangelicalism. I especially appreciated chapter seven's discussion of the ways Luther responded to deficiencies in the early reform movement by constructing a broad pastoral program of catechesis centered upon the mainstays of traditional catholic piety: the Apostles' Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord's Prayer. On this point and many others, we still have a lot to learn from Martin Luther, and Trueman's book is an able introductory guide to the Reformer's life, theology, and writings.

David J. Luy's Dominus Mortis: Martin Luther on the Incorruptibility of God in Christ, published by Fortress Press, is a very different sort of book. It engages the widespread claim that Luther's Christology either directly or indirectly paved the way for rejecting the classical doctrine of divine impassibility. By carefully situating Luther's Christology within the context of late medieval thought, Luy dismantles this claim point by point and demonstrates that, far from undermining the catholic doctrine of God, Luther's theology exhibits the deep relevance of divine impassibility for our understanding of God's saving presence in Christ. Luy's fine volume is not intended for the general reader, but it is essential reading for anyone interested in a historically informed understanding of the divine attributes and of Luther's contribution to the Christian doctrines of God and Christ. 

Tribute to Trueman

Being an unapologetic Carl Trueman fanboy, the recent announcement of his departure from the ranks of regular contributors to the Reformation21 blog has hit me quite hard. I'm told that my feelings are not shared by all. (Apparently the Alliance has received several congratulatory letters from prominent evangelical leaders...). Nevertheless, in the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, I thought that I too might offer a word of tribute to Professor Trueman on the occasion of his new site launch.

Though I have benefited a great deal from his regular posts at Reformation21, his greatest impact upon me has been through his published works, which (thankfully) remain available in more permanent form. There is of course Carl's somewhat controversial foray into debates about evangelical political thought. Then there is his important contribution to what it means to be a confessional Christian. And who could ever forget his rousing cry to evangelical social engagement...? 

Personally, though, I think I will continue to draw the most encouragement and instruction from having witnessed Trueman's personal journey of self-discovery as he moved from being a mere professor in the Scottish university system to his current position as mainstay of American evangelical Christianity.

Thanks, Carl, for the memories. 

The Mortification of Spin podcast has been airing for a year and a half, attracting tens of thousands of listeners each week. And while there are some issues and certain episodes that we are asked to avoid, remove, or apologize for - we've not succumbed to any of that. BTW - the one thing we hear most often is for more. For more of Carl Trueman, Todd Pruitt and Aimee Byrd - but we suspect they really mean more of Aimee.

So while the actual podcast schedule can't change - it will continue to air each and every Wednesday - we can bring you more content from the hosts. The blog content of Carl from, of Aimee from and of Todd from his blog known as 1517 will all be combined at Mortification of Spin.

There it will sit alongside the podcast, it's archives, the huge archives of these three prolific writers, and soon, new and fun content extras! So the web address will not change - and - but the causal conversation about things that count will grow!

The Mortification of Spin is a ministry of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. The Alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars, and churchmen who hold the historic creeds and confessions of the Reformed faith and who proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today's Church. Learn more about the Alliance at

The Alliance, and all of its ministries, including Motification of Spin is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Mortification of Spin and the mission of the Alliance. Please donate here.

Mr Contrarian (CRT) does the Ice Bucket Challenge

A council member from - ahem - The Gospel Coalition sent me this today. We here at Reformation21 nominate the entire Gospel Coalition, all 1,000,000+ of you.  

Carl Trueman's Ice-Bucket challenge:

Some observations are in order: 

1. We know Carl is against  American pastors speaking about their hot wives, but his wife dressed this way seems to be a classic over-reaction to the aforementioned problem. 

2. Judging by his right foot in the video, he had done this challenge a few times before in order to perfect it. Or he plays the organ at his church and was simultaneously practicing for Sunday.

3. His final shriek suggests that he belongs with the organ and not the choir. 

Pastor Mark Jones did his ice-bucket challenge in the lavatory of an American Airlines plane (yes, I have video evidence). Truth be told, he recently did a conference for the Alliance in Texas at a Baptist church and felt like re-baptizing himself, by immersion, which he later found out doesn't count :(

Carlifornia dreaming


Friends towards the west coast of the US of A might be interested in this year's Southern California Reformed Baptist Pastors' Conference on "The Doctrine of Scripture" on the 3rd and 4th of November.

Dr. Carl Trueman is the keynote speaker and will be addressing the doctrine of Scripture from the late medieval period to 1700. He will have four lecture sessions and two Q&A sessions.

Dr. James Renihan will be lecturing on moral law and positive law in Scripture. He will provide exposition of key passages demonstrating how these two aspects of law function in Christian doctrine.

Dr. Richard Barcellos will be lecturing on hermeneutics and the formulation of the doctrine of the covenant of works. He will discuss some hermeneutical principles of seventeenth-century federal theology and how the doctrine of the covenant of works was formulated utilizing those principles.

More information is available at the conference site here or at RBAP.

Seems to be the day of interviews here...

On The Confessing Baptist today, they released episode #60 and join up with The CredoCovenant Podcast for an interview with Carl Trueman (not a Baptist, we know... but he did tell us, "Well, I use to be a Baptist!") on his book The Creedal Imperative.

"The most obvious and the best way of making sure that the faith is transmitted in a stable form, across the face of the globe and from generation to generation, is to have a clearly stated public confession that can be tested by Scripture and can be passed from generation to generation." - The Creedal Imperative

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Our one, our only, the incorrigible Carl Trueman will once again be on the Janet Mefferd program ( between 4 and 5 pm. He has been asked to bring his gift of prophecy (or maybe he only needs a basic understanding of statistics to read the trends) and discuss the future of Protestantism. And afterward, join the discussion on the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals LinkedIn group (

I know that Carl did his best to welcome Mark Jones as our newest contributor to reformation21. I was not sure Mark was left feeling comfortable with that 'welcome' but he did come back (and came back jumping right into the fray too)! So we all look forward to more from him.

Should you not know of Mark, you can visit his church web site to learn more and listen in as he preaches God's Word. You can also see his latest book with P&R Publishing.

And in order to give you a better impression of Mark, we have a few copies of Antinomianism to give away.

Should you need a copy right away or more copies, visit

Also, the winners of our previous book giveaway included:
William B, Glenside PA
Jeremy C, Wylie TX
Ray Fowler, Plantation FL
Russell H, Bangor MA
Omar J, Temple Hills MD
Jeff M, Wake Forest NC
Scott R, Wake Forest NC (totally random!)
Jason S, Fishers IN, and
Nancy W, Charlotte NC
Not wanting the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals to be painted as ever saying a negative comment of another or depriving one of their moment as a celebrity, I strongly urge Carl to select and forward to the staff for immediately posting a suitable photo of Paul for use on reformation21!
We have several copies of Jeremy Walkers book, The New Calvinism Considered: A Personal and Pastoral Assessment which we'd love to give to you Its a topic a fresh after Dr. John Pipers address at Westminster Seminary late last month. The book comes endorsed by both ends of a given scale - Phil Johnson (Grace to You) and Carl Trueman ( and Mortification of Spin podcast).

These are a wonderful gift from EP Books! We don't have many to give away, but those few we have will be given away here. And ff you can't get a free copy, you can order one direct from Pick up a copy today.

Free drawing -

Order copies -

Winners of the Wells, God in the Whirlwind drawing were:

Josh B of Roslyn PA

Leonard L out of Powhatan VA

Ken M from Dayton OH

Marguerite H in Bailey NC

Jerry N of Colleyville TX

Seminary changed my life. Through the Bible teaching and supplementary readings, I gained a more robust view of God, his word and church, the sacraments, and my marriage. Perhaps because of the transformation that took place in my life, I so highly recommend seminary to aspiring ministers. However, despite the amazing things that I learned and the glorious things that took place (e.g., sanctification), looking back there are many things that I wish I had done differently. Here is one.

1. Time management.

5 books to read per class, several exams and quizzes, and final papers. Amid the busyness, you also have family and church commitments. In all of this, is it possible to manage your time appropriately? Barring unforeseen emergencies I think it is. It may require the seminary student to watch a bit less television or maintain a tighter schedule, but again, I think it is possible.

When we do not manage our time well, multiple 24-hour nights writing papers and cramming for exams are the result. That paradigm, however, is of no benefit to us. Just as quickly as we stuff Hebrew paradigms into our minds the night before an exam, the information will escape our memory just as quickly a day or two later. The work we place into our final papers also significantly suffers, and correspondingly we suffer, too. Our papers that are due at 10AM Friday morning are sometimes nothing more than what a renown commentator says put into our own words. While we cannot expect our final papers to be original, much like a PhD dissertation, we should demand more of ourselves than that. What we put into our work may correspond to what we get out of it. 

I think sometimes our mentality in seminary is, "I just need to graduate. Once I finish, I will manage my time better." Take it from me, life does not slow down once you graduate and enter pastoral ministry. You still need to manage your time well to include family commitments, word and sacrament ministry, witnessing, and personal reading. And just as easy as it is to slip into poor time management in seminary, it is similarly easy to fall into the same trouble in pastoral ministry. 

What's the result? Instead of writing papers that are essentially a version of your favorite commentary put into your own words, your sermons become duplicates of your favorite commentary with a bit more pizazz. Instead of taking the time to dig into the languages, you become dependent on Logos Bible software (that one's for you, Carl) for parsing and syntax such that without the Bible software your insufficiencies in the original languages are manifest. 

Poor time management can follow you directly into pastoral ministry if you are not careful. Therefore, our time management practices in seminary should help prepare us for how we navigate the waters of pastoral ministry should the Lord take us into this blessed calling. 

Carl Trueman, Postmodern Theologian?


Architecturally, Westminster Theological Seminary is a peculiar place. Located north of Philadelphia Pennsylvania on an old estate, at the center of the campus stands an old stone mansion, an homage to bygone days. Wrapped around the mansion--which houses an assortment of dormitories, staff rooms, and offices--an array of driveways and parking lots circle, bewildering and disorienting visitors. Classes aren't held in the central mansion, but in a peculiarly ugly brick building thrown by its side. As one's eyes scan the campus from stately stone mansion to brick square classroom building one senses the fragmentation of our postmodern society resides here too. This diagnosis seems to be borne out by the school's weekly newsletter, titled "Brute Facts," a joke playfully alluding to the teachings of one of the more prestigious former professors, Cornelius Van Til, who taught that there are no such things as "brute," uninterpreted facts. Rejecting modernist epistemological foundationalism, his teaching instead (in striking analogy to much of postmodern theology) attempted to reach back to pre-modern modes of thinking. Carl Trueman, like the other professors who teach here, would resolutely deny that his theology has anything to do with postmodernism. However, we must ask, would his denial in fact deconstruct itself?

Of course, in order to ask if Carl Trueman is a postmodern theologian, we first have to know what postmodernism is. Is that, however, the wrong question? Will whatever answer we give in fact deconstruct itself as well, revealing that we have slipped an unwarranted false assumption into our question? In fact, does the question of what postmodernism is in fact reveal that we have been clinging to a metaphysics of presence which will, like all metaphysics of presence, unwind until we are left with a long string of nonsense fit only for a cat's plaything? It is not that we can simply deny that postmodernism is anything at all. That would only reverse our first dilemma. Instead, we must ask the question, but as we do so we must cross out the "to be" verb as a warning, a sign that our answer will be inevitably incomplete. So, we must ask, "What is postmodernism?" 

What postmodernism is, however, like all "isms" turns out to be as allusive as we might expect--in fact it may be the most monstrous "ism" of all. According to some, the umbrella of postmodernism covers everything from Quentin Tarrantino to Michel Foucault to hamburgers at McDonalds--but in that case postmodernism begins to look suspiciously like a synonym for "anything that happens in an advanced capitalistic democracy." While useful for some purposes, this definition probably won't help us to determine if we can meaningfully refer to Carl Trueman as a postmodern theologian. Under this definition Carl Trueman and everyone else living in the United States would seem to be postmodern. But what if we take the case of a Somalian refugee living in Burlington, VT? (Surely a postmodern culture if there ever was one). At what point did that refugee become postmodern by inhabiting an advanced capitalistic democracy? Was it the moment he stepped off the airplane onto American soil? That seems to give an inordinate amount of power to airports. Or was it sometime later? Could the refugee have chosen somehow to not become postmodern although living in Burlington, or is postmodernism some blind sinister force crushing everything in its path?

Others would propose a more philosophical definition of postmodernism: postmodernism is questioning all metanarratives. It isn't very clear, however, what this statement actually means. Does it mean that postmoderns embrace relativism? But it isn't clear to me that any postmodern philosopher has actually done that. Most, like Derrida, would firmly deny that they are relativists, and a postmodernism without Derrida sounds like a very poor beast indeed. Derrida, in fact, has his own metanarrative about "différance" and how all language deconstructs itself and leads to (yes, you guessed right) postmodernism. Perhaps, therefore, this definition instead should refer to a willingness to play, to have fun with all metanarratives. Now Derrida at least would be back in the fold, but then, who doesn't like to have fun sometimes? "Play" indeed is often what we do with those things that we hold dearest. Take the medievals who made great fun out of the theatre of the mass. In one town in Germany for example, as historian Diarmaid MacCulloch tells us, on Easter morning "a solemn procession with crucifix customarily tried to make its way out of the church, only to find its path barred by a crowd of local youths dressed as devils. After a series of ritual challenges and a vigorous mock fight with plenty of noise and slamming of doors, the devils fled the scene, throwing down their flaming torches, representing hellfire, in front of the victorious cross-bearers." But of course, this hooliganism doesn't represent skepticism, but rather comfort with the patterns of medieval Christianity. So, it seems, we're still left scratching our heads about what postmodernism is (OK, I've given up crossing out the "to be" verb, and I was never consistent anyways).

Perhaps we could dispense with our quest to define postmodernism, and instead easily rule Carl Trueman out of being postmodern without worrying about where the boundaries of postmodernism actually are. Many, it seems, believe that postmoderns are concerned with particular ethical and political stances. Postmoderns, many would say, deny that there are essential differences between men and women. Postmoderns argue that heterosexuals define themselves in opposition to and thus dependence on homosexuals, that cross-dressing is the same as dressing "normally," that regular jeans define themselves in opposition to skinny jeans (again, demonstrating the equality of skinny jeans wearers), that we should support gay marriage, and even "self-marriage" (unless the postmodern in question doesn't support marriage at all). Now, as far as I can tell, Trueman doesn't support any of these things (especially wearing skinny jeans). However, is this really what postmodernism is? If postmodernism is all about dialogue and peace and respecting everyone's identity, what about Heidegger, the Nazi and darling of postmoderns? Perhaps he wasn't a postmodern himself, but certainly Paul de Man was at the center of postmodernism while he was alive, and he too during WWII wrote anti-semitic articles in defense of the Germans. So, apparently, advocating the slaughter of millions isn't in opposition to postmodernism. Perhaps, then, believing that men and women are different also wouldn't bar someone from being truly postmodern. 

Could we more positively place Trueman in the postmodern camp? I can't help pointing out that his taste in music--including a love for British classic rock and a cappella psalm singing--smacks of postmodern eclecticism. At Westminster Carl Trueman teaches on every era of church history, except for the modern era. Coincidence? Or does this go along with his vigorous critique of modernist mega-church practices? Of course, Trueman also vigorously critiques postmoderns and emergent church types, but what postmodern wouldn't critique other postmoderns? Indeed, every new generation of postmodernism seems set on sinking the one that went before. Perhaps this would then make Trueman a post-postmodern, or, since this title has already been taken, a post-post-postmodern, or, since I think that title might be taken too, a post-post-post-postmodern. That, however, as Trueman would say, is "absolutely bonkers."

In conclusion, is Carl Trueman a postmodern theologian? Maybe, or maybe not, but I'm not sure I know what truth is anymore.

Bryce Adamson

"The Mortification of Spin"

For those who don't know of it, you may be interested to hear that Todd Pruitt and Carl "I'm not a celebrity, I'm just high-profile" Trueman are building their empire with a podcast entitled The Mortification of Spin. According to the spin, er . . . blurb, MoS is
a bi-weekly casual conversation about things that count. Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt serve up a humorous, informal podcast with bite. Join this engaging and thought-provoking conversation on the challenges the Church faces and what counts in the Christian life. Served up with a healthy dose of germane cultural references. Hear for yourself if British accents carry more weight . . .
The first two episodes are on rockstar pastors in Las Vegas (including notes on the imitation of the world and sanctification) and the king's court jester (discussing such matters as suffering and the nature of evil).

I cannot promise moody monochrome videos, and I am not sure who is providing the soundtrack, but if those are not going to be a problem for you, doubtless there may be a few who wish to tune in.

The Trueman Show (or, "In it to win it")

And so it has happened. Carl Trueman, Puncturer of Bubbles, has been invited into the celebrity cauldron of T4G to discuss celebrity. Quite apart from the obvious irony of having the cachet actually to sit on the same platform as "Lig," "C.J." "Al," "Mark," "Thabiti," and other one-name monsters, and perhaps even to breathe - at least temporarily - the same air, it seems to have been fun. We are looking forward to the video.

But it is, sadly, at this point, that I must rip the carpet out from under Trueman's feet: he has a Facebook fan page. It is so select that it is a closed group. Perhaps that means you have to be invited. It is so exclusive that only five people have been allowed to join it. That means that the countless thousands of others who long to lick the ground that Carl has walked on are kept at bay, having to be content with a distant view (from seat 487ZZ) of their demagogue in the spotlights at T4G, willing to give almost anything for the merest wisp of wool from one of those scholarly cardigans. And if that were not enough, the ultimate accolade approaches: I hear that a Trueman bobble-head doll is on the way.

As an aside, it is rumoured that Paul Levy, Trueman's alter ego, enjoys the attentions of the Paul Levy Appreciation Society, an underground network of thousands, organised in chapters through every country of the globe, all imbibers of the tenets of "Free Writing" (which is to coherent communication what parkour is to marathon running). They meet to extol the virtues of writing untrammelled by the restraints of grammar and unshackled from the chains of punctuation, all the while affecting a Welsh accent.

Anyway, while a more mischievous man than I might be tempted to set up an open fan-page with the sole intention of seeing if we can get 10000 ardent devotees of Mr T signed up and so forever ruin his credibility as a destroyer of celebrity, I leave you with this gem from the soon-to-be-released "at home with Carl" DVD: "The Truman Show is all the more noteworthy for its remarkably prescient vision of runaway celebrity culture and a nation with an insatiable thirst for the private details of ordinary lives." Or have I got something mixed up?
For those searching out the Carl Trueman message on Judges 19, the URL you seek is

Thank you to Cornerstone Presbyterian!

I seem to recall recently reading something from the good Dr. Trueman on the subversive nature of reciting the Apostle's Creed.  Then today I came across this as I was reading the good Dr. Packer:

"Each worshiper . . . has come into the hands of the Christian God where he is glad to be, and when he says, 'I beleive,' it is an act of praise and thanksgiving on his part.  It is in truth a great thing to be able to say the Creed."

J I Packer, Affirming the Apostle's Creed (Crossway, 2008) 29.